The Democratic Presidential candidates who have been the most backed by billionaires have not been doing well in the polling thus far, and this fact greatly disturbs the billionaires. They know that the Democratic nominee will be chosen in the final round of primaries, and they have always wanted Pete Buttigieg to be in that final round. Therefore, they have backed him more than any of the other candidates. But what worries them now is that his opponent in that round might turn out to be Bernie Sanders, whom they all consider to be their nemesis. They want to avoid this outcome, at all costs. And they might have found a way to do it: Elizabeth Warren. Here is how, and why:
Among the top three in the polling — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren — only Biden is among the top five in the number of billionaires who have backed him, and each of the other four candidates scores higher than Biden does in the number of billionaire backers. Furthermore, Biden is sinking in the polls. Consequently, Democratic Party billionaires are increasingly worrying that their Party might end up nominating for the Presidency someone whom they won’t support. That person would be Sanders. And the Democratic National Committee — which relies heavily upon its billionaire backers in order to be able to win elections (just as the Republican National Committee relies upon Republican billionaire backers in order to win) — is terrified by this possibility (alienating its Party’s crucial moneybags).
The saving grace for these billionaires (and for the DNC) increasingly seems likely to be Senator Warren’s candidacy, which draws support away from Sanders, and therefore gives Buttigieg a chance ultimately to win the nomination….
For when youtube purges this video:
Birth of a New Earth
Australian clinical psychologist Lissa Johnson has been an outspoken defender of Julian Assange, writing extensively on the grave implications of his persecution for democratic rights and freedom of speech.
Johnson explained to the WSWS that she “writes about the psychology of politics and social issues.” She has a background in media studies and sociology, and a PhD in the psychology of manipulating reality-perception.
Earlier this year, Johnson wrote an extensive five–part investigativeseries titled “The Psychology of Getting Julian Assange,” published on the New Matilda website. Johnson provided the following responses to a series of questions from the World Socialist Web Site earlier this week.
WSWS: John Shipton and John Pilger have recently detailed the punitive conditions of Assange’s detention in Belmarsh Prison. Could you speak about the way in which his isolation, and the denial of his right to access computers/legal documents is aimed at stymieing his defence against the US extradition request and increasing the psychological pressures upon him?
Lissa Johnson: If anyone takes a moment to imagine what it must be like to face the prospect of 175 years in a US prison, having already been subjected to nearly a decade of arbitrary detention and judicial harassment, knowing that you have no chance of a fair trial in the US, having been smeared in the media and branded a “terrorist” and enemy of the state, then that gives you an inkling of what Julian Assange was dealing with even before being placed under lockdown in Belmarsh prison. If you add to that having read hundreds of documents from Guantanamo Bay and knowing, in intimate detail, what the United States does to those it brands terrorists and enemies of the state, then Julian Assange’s reality becomes even clearer.
Now, with the full force of the US national security state bearing down on him, Julian Assange has been stripped of his most basic abilities to protect himself. He is denied even the ability to view the documents in his case, in order to inspect and understand the evidence against him. He is denied regular contact with his lawyers, and access to a computer. In other words, he is forced, day and night, do nothing but wait, helplessly, for whatever wrath the US government intends to unleash upon him.
This is beyond barbarically psychologically cruel. Emotionally, it is akin to holding someone bound and gagged in the basement while their assailant stands outside sharpening their knives.
It is also a violation of Julian Assange’s human right to adequately prepare his defence.
As if all of this weren’t enough, Julian Assange is also being deprived of one of the most fundamental human psychological needs, which is human contact. Even without the threat of US extradition, the kind of isolation that Julian is suffering is deeply damaging to human beings. We are social animals and need social connection.
For that reason, prolonged solitary confinement of more than 15 days has been defined by the United Nations as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Beyond 15 days, solitary confinement is considered “prolonged” because some of the adverse psychological effects can become permanent.
As well as causing a wide range of serious psychological disturbances and physical health problems, the reduced stimulation of solitary confinement can cause decreased brain activity, which may become irreversible after just seven days. Concentration and memory impairments can also occur, and can persist after solitary confinement ends.
The implication is that subjecting Julian Assange to social isolation is not only cruel and inhuman, it may well be damaging his cognitive capacity to engage in his own defence and fight his cause going forward.
Inflicting conditions with the potential to weaken and destroy one of the great minds of our time in this way, thereby turning him into an easy target, is reprehensible.
WSWS: As a clinical psychologist, can you comment on the treatment that Assange should be receiving?
LJ: Julian Assange is suffering because he is being abused. The intervention required to ameliorate his deterioration is to cease his abuse.
As Julian Assange is being abused on multiple levels, there are multiple layers of abuse that need to be addressed, and addressed urgently. Not only are his legal and human rights being abused, but his civil rights, his political rights and his democratic rights. All of these rights need to be restored, some of them immediately.
A simple and imperative starting point would be to grant him access to social contact, including regular visitors of his choosing, both personal and professional, including legal and health professionals and friends, family and colleagues. This would alleviate the isolation that will inevitably seriously adversely affect both his physical and mental health, now and into the future.
An equally simple and immediate intervention would be respecting his human right to prepare his defence. This would involve granting him access to lawyers, documents, the internet and a computer. That would at least reduce the sense of helplessness he must be experiencing, and restore some sense of efficacy, control and agency, which are psychologically essential factors in coping with threat and danger.
More broadly, it is appalling that Julian Assange is in a maximum security prison, stripped of his human and legal rights, on the transparently disingenuous pretext of a defunct bail infringement. It is the most minor matter at the best of times, and nonsensical in Julian’s case, as the relevant investigation was closed at the time of sentencing, and the associated arrest warrant has never even been re-issued. This concocted pretext for a maximum security lockdown is, in reality, serving as a vehicle by which to break Julian Assange, both psychologically and physically.
Accordingly, the psychological treatment of choice would be to respect the edicts of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, who have both instructed relevant authorities to grant Julian Assange his freedom, ensure his safety from US extradition, cease abusing, harassing, threatening and defaming him, and offer him compensation and redress.
WSWS: Could you speak about the significance of UN rapporteur Nils Melzer’s finding in May that Assange has been the victim of “psychological torture”?
On Aug. 23, 2019, New York State Supreme Court Judge Denise Hartman issued an Opinion upholding a law passed by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 13, 2019 repealing the legal right of parents to obtain a religious exemption vaccination for their children to attend school and daycare programs.1 2 3
Even though New York school children have a 97 to 98 percent statewide vaccination rate for two doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine,4 the New York legislature moved to repeal the religious exemption to vaccination on one day with no public hearings in response to a measles outbreak in New York City and nearby Rockland County that began in the fall of 2018 in orthodox Jewish neighborhoods with low vaccination rates.5
Judge Hartman’s ruling is the second rejection by the New York Supreme Court of a legal effort by parents to delay or stop the implementation of the new law banning children from attending school unless they have a state health department-approved medical exemption to vaccination. On July 12, 2019, New York Supreme Court Judge Michael Mackey denied a request for a temporary restraining order to delay implementation of the new law. The restraining order request was filed by civil rights attorney Michael Sussman of Goshen, New York and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., founder of Children’s Health Defense, on behalf of 55 families holding different religious beliefs.6
According to news reports:
The new law says unvaccinated kids must be kicked out of school next month unless they get their first shot within the first 14 days of school and can document within the first 30 days of school they have appointments for follow-up doses. Schools face fines of up to $2,000 for each child admitted in violation of the law.s.3
Judge Rejects Legal Arguments Challenging Constitutionality of Religious Exemption Repeal by Legislature
In her 32-page decision, Judge Hartman refused to grant a preliminary injunction that would have halted implementation of the repeal of the religious vaccine exemption by the New York legislature in response to a lawsuit filed by Sussman on behalf of plaintiffs. The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality and legality of the law repealing religious exemption to vaccination based on the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and, additionally, argued that the new law forces plaintiff’s to either engage in compelled speech or violate New York’s mandatory education laws.7
Last year, approximately 26,000 children in New York attended school with a religious exemption to vaccination, which represents less than one percent of all school children in the state. About 4,500 attended school in New York last year with a medical exemption.8
In considering the accounts of 330 parents who had submitted sworn affidavits to the court explaining how they planned to leave the state or home-school them rather than vaccinate them, Judge Hartman acknowledged the “magnitude of disruption and potential harm” families may suffer if they are forced to violate their religious beliefs and vaccinate their children, teach them at home or leave the state. However, she wrote, “The Court is hard-pressed to conclude that the plaintiffs have shown that the balance of equities tips decidedly their favor.”2 3
Judge Hartman determined that the plaintiff’s legal challenge to the new law would not be successful. She wrote, “Because plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits, the Supreme Court denies the request for a preliminary injunction; the legislative repeal of the religious exemption remains in effect.” She noted that, “For at least a quarter of a century, the courts have repeatedly upheld the states’ compulsory vaccination laws.”1 2….
It’s true that ultrasound is a form of non-ionizing radiation, but the parallels drawn in this article (and many others) compare it to non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation such as cell phones when of course it’s based on sound. Unfortunately such fuzzy parallels can be used by authority figures in white coats to argue against parents’ concerns. But the question is whether ultrasound is capable of biological disruption whatever its mechanism of action, and the answer is of course yes. Physical agitation of physical objects like differentiating and migrating cells can certainly disrupt processes which have evolved over millennia without such agitation.
A more apt analogy to ultrasound might be trying to assemble a complex kit on a randomly moving table while your chair and the instruction manual are also moving around randomly. And in extreme circumstances where lensing or reflection occurs due to variations in tissue density (such as a concave pelvic bone) random cavitation can occur, for which an apt comparison might be hitting your head with a hammer as a more conventional form of non-ionizing radiation.
Prenatal ultrasound is a taken-for-granted component of modern maternity care, to such an extent that most obstetrician-gynecologists find it impossible to practice their profession without it. American women now routinely undergo four to five ultrasounds per pregnancy. Despite the absence of demonstrated benefits, there is also a trend toward “new applications of ultrasound…at earlier stages in pregnancy” (p. 47), including Doppler fetal heart rate monitoring that magnifies the unborn baby’s exposure manyfold.
A Scottish physician developed the first 2D ultrasound machine in the late 1950s. Intended for prenatal scanning as well as gynecological tumor diagnosis, the machine drew on the doctor’s prior experience with military radar technology. Now, the latest growth sector in ultrasound technology is 3D imaging (which shows the baby’s face) or 4D ultrasound that creates a “live video effect, like a movie”—luring parents into stockpiling “keepsake” footage of their baby’s in utero facial expressions.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tells prospective parents that ultrasound exams provide “a valuable opportunity to view and hear the heartbeat of the fetus, bond with the unborn baby, and capture images to share with family and friends”—and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) denies any association between ultrasound and adverse maternal, fetal or neonatal outcomes—not everyone shares the agencies’ complacency. In fact, two recent books make the opposite case. One author—backed up by over 1500 scientific citations—argues that prenatal ultrasound is so harmful to children that it “should be banned from obstetrics immediately.” The other contends that the “subtle and not-so-subtle” biological effects of ultrasound “have set the human species on a tragic path” from which it may take generations to recover.
Known but hidden risks
Few prospective parents realize that ultrasound technology is not just sound waves but is based on non-ionizing radiation. Other examples of man-made non-ionizing radiation include cell phones, cell towers, cordless phones, Wi-Fi and more. Although ionizing radiation (think X-rays) has the reputation of being more powerful, non-ionizing radiation is plenty capable of producing biological effects—including altering and damaging cells. In the mid-1980s, a best-selling doctor/author likened ultrasound to other “unproven” technologies “being sold to the public as being ‘perfectly safe’” and scolded the medical profession for failing to take the “necessary steps to protect people against a malignant technology.” Around the same time, the World Health Organization declared (in vain) that concerns about ultrasound’s clinical efficacy and safety “do not allow a recommendation for routine screening.”
According to the author of one of the recent ultrasound critiques, the technology causes far-reaching damage. Describing a series of studies published in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the author notes that “a single exposure to ultrasound produced cellular and DNA damage similar to 250 chest x rays”—and “[d]amage was permanent and heritable for ten generations and beyond.” Forms of damage included “DNA shearing, single and double strand breaks, chromosome rearrangements and DNA uncoiling, deformities and mutations in offspring, as well as the complete deactivation of genetic material within sonicated cells.”
The second recent book summarizes 50 studies of prenatal ultrasound in China, describing “alteration and injuries in the organs, tissues [and] cellular ultrastructures” and “damage to the cytokine signaling in molecules, red blood cells, neurons and mitochondria.” The author notes that the physics of ultrasound are “dramatic”; for example, industry uses ultrasound “to disintegrate and blend materials, and to weld steel.” Airing the concept of “toxic synergy,” the book also suggests that “ultrasound is an effective synergist…theoretically capable of initiating fetal vulnerabilities to subsequent toxic exposure”; thus, “the risk of subsequent exposure to vaccines, birth drugs, antibiotics and other environmental stressors would be raised by prenatal ultrasound, not in addition, but as a multiplier” [emphasis added].
Ultrasound and autism
Many researchers have noted that the safety of ultrasound devices depends, among other factors, on the amount of “output energy…to which the fetus is exposed.” In the late 1980s, the ultrasound industry approached the FDA with a request to augment existing output levels “to enhance diagnostic capability,” and in 1991, the agency acquiesced to an eightfold increase in allowable output exposure levels. When, 20 years later, FDA researchers compared ultrasound trends before and after the 1991 regulatory change—focusing in particular on the potential for “tissue heating”—they reported “a substantial increase in ultrasonic power over time” and cautiously concluded that their temperature rise estimates “could be considered potentially harmful.” Stated more directly by other authors:
This FDA action ensured that babies born after 1991 would be exposed to even more radiation as compared to those born in the 1970s and 80s, hence these children have a greater risk of radiation-induced genetic and/or brain damage that can lead to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Researchers have pointed out that the autism epidemic took off at around the same time that ultrasound use and intensity increased. To explain this association, they note the presence of central nervous system alterations in animals exposed to ultrasound in utero. For example, a study in mice found that fetal exposure to diagnostic ultrasound altered “typical social behaviors…that may be relevant for autism.”
Swedish researchers writing in 2016 compared autism rates in children born between 1999 and 2003 who had been exposed to ultrasound at either 12 or 18 weeks’ gestation. The authors found similar rates of autism in both groups but called for further research, noting that their results could not speak to current ultrasound practices. “Today,” the authors stated, “higher intensity ultrasound scans are performed more frequently, at earlier stages during pregnancy and for non-medical purposes, implying longer exposure time for the fetus.”
Manuel Casanova (a researcher at the University of South Carolina-Greenville) has coauthored numerous studies describing the autistic brain and delving into ultrasound’s effects on the brain. Espousing a “triple hit” hypothesis of autism that involves (1) external stressors (2) during a critical period of brain development in fetuses with (3) underlying vulnerabilities, Casanova suggests that prenatal ultrasound may be a key stressor. According to Casanova, ultrasound preferentially affects cells with a “proclivity for being deformed,” activating mechanisms having to do with cell growth and cell division and causing certain cells “to divide at a time when they should not divide.” “Ill-timed activation or over-activation” of certain pathways via ultrasound can also lead to unwanted cell proliferation or maldistribution of neurons. Other researchers have confirmed the ultrasound-autism relationship within the “triple hit” context.
Casanova frankly states that “[u]ltrasounds are being done without regards to the safety of the patients.” He points out that a third of all ultrasound practitioners fail to adhere to safety regulations and notes that at least 40% of ultrasound equipment is defective. In addition, he observes that many practitioners “don’t see anything wrong” with using ultrasound during the first trimester, even though safety regulations discourage first-trimester use in uneventful pregnancies.There is little evidence that diagnostic ultrasound is saving lives or improving outcomes, and considerable evidence that, on the contrary, it is unsafe.
It is unlikely that the medical community will readily ban the lucrative practice of prenatal ultrasound, but consumers are in a position to help roll back the technology’s overuse by withdrawing their consent. There is little evidence that diagnostic ultrasound is saving lives or improving outcomes, and considerable evidence that, on the contrary, it is unsafe. Risks in addition to autism include fetal growth retardation, other brain abnormalities and both male and female infertility as well as broader vulnerability to disease. Given that ultrasound damage may not become apparent until years down the road, it behooves parents-to-be to learn the facts and decide whether a souvenir image or movie is worth the risk to their child’s long-term health.
The Contra Costa County Department of Children and Family Services (CFS or CPS) in California appears to have a problem with the sexual abuse of children.
The Epoch Times interviewed whistleblower parents, children, and a mental health professional in the county who spoke of how they say children are being sexually abused in the system that is meant to protect them.
In July, a father–son duo, Simon Mendoza Chavez, 64, and Simon Magana Chavez, 31, in the Contra Costa County city of Antioch were arrested on charges of committing multiple crimes during their years-long tenure as foster parents, according to a little-publicized police department release.
“On 6-13-19, members of the Antioch Police Department began investigating an extensive sexual abuse case. The abuse involved several minors that were victimized by a father and son who provided foster care for the children from 2011 through 2017,” the Antioch police department stated in the release….